College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Wisconsin vs. Saint Mary’s: Betting Guide to Maui Invitational Title Game
Getty Images. Pictured: Brad Davison (left) and Logan Johnson.
- Wisconsin and Saint Mary's clash in the Maui Invitational Championship game from Las Vegas.
- The Badgers defeated Texas A&M and Houston, while the Gaels topped Notre Dame and Oregon.
- Tanner McGrath has this game covered with a preview and a top selection.
Wisconsin vs. Saint Mary’s Odds
-110o / -110u
|Saint Mary’s Odds|
-110o / -110u
Wisconsin vs. Saint Mary’s is how the Maui Jim Maui Invitational will draw to a close.
Hopefully, you read my Maui Invitational preview, which recommended betting the Gaels to win this tournament at 10-1 odds.
However, instead of just blindly hedging by betting Wisconsin, here’s my best bet for this edition of the Maui Invitational championship game.
Wisconsin Coming Off Impressive Semifinal Win
Wisconsin did beat a Final Four team from last season in Houston, but I can’t help but feel that game was a bit flukey.
Johnny Davis was outstanding, but the Badgers don’t compete in this game if he doesn’t get red-hot. He was instrumental in building a 17-0 lead to begin the game.
Wisconsin also doesn’t build that big lead unless Houston goes ice cold. The Cougars offense is predicated upon shooting 3-pointers and getting offensive rebounds, but Houston managed to shoot just 2-for-10 from deep in the first half.
Then, after the Cougars dominated the second half to bring the game within two, Houston shot just 4-from-10 from the charity stripe down the stretch.
If Houston has even a moderately OK shooting night, the Badgers aren’t in this game.
Both Wisconsin and Houston are high-variance offenses, and Wisconsin got the better swings on Tuesday night. I am hesitant to bet on it happening again.
How Experience Helps the Gaels
There’s a lot to love about this year’s version of the Gaels.
First, they’re experienced. Saint Mary’s returns all five starters from last season and every major contributor. The Gaels have so much continuity, especially with fifth-year senior Tommy Kuhse running the show at point.
Second, the Gaels play solid defensively. They currently rank 15th in KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency and rank in the 70th percentile in points per possession allowed in half-court sets (.782).
Third, the Gaels rebound. They currently rank third nationally in defensive rebounding percentage (18.2%).
Finally, Saint Mary’s plays at a very slow pace and controls the game because of it. The Gaels rank 319th in tempo and they’ll muck up games to remain competitive.
All in all, Randy Bennett’s squad plays consistent, smart basketball and tends to limit mistakes. This 6-0 squad is dangerous and will be a team to watch come March.
Wisconsin vs. Saint Mary’s Betting Pick
I don’t believe Wisconsin should be laying points against anybody.
Again, the win over Houston wasn’t convincing enough for me, and I believe the Badgers are in for some regression against a team that won’t make as many mistakes.
Moreover, Wisconsin’s swing offense will try to get open outside shots, but the Gaels’ ability to limit those will hurt what the Badgers try to do offensively.
Wisconsin will also attempt to run the pick-and-roll with Brad Davison, something the team’s been very adept at doing so far this season. However, SMC ranks in the 69th percentile in PPP allowed to pick-and-roll ball-handlers (.602) and in the 87th percentile to pick-and-roll roll-men (.636).
Look for the Gaels to play smart defensively by taking away Wisconsin’s primary scoring options, and then to control the ball on offense.
This game should be a grind, but Saint Mary’s is the more talented basketball team, and I’d definitely play it down to a PK.
Pick: Saint Mary’s +1 (Play to PK)
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